Course Teaches Artists Important Business Skills

By Betty Lin-Fisher
The Akron Beacon Journal.

Even after 21 years as a working artist, Ted Lawson said a course he took last year to teach him business skills was invaluable.

“There’s more to being an artist than just painting. There’s advertising and marketing and the hard work that goes along with it,” said Lawson, who embarked on his painting career by combining his love of photography and painting after a 35-year career as an engineer.

The Akron Area Arts Alliance is hosting its second Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute, a course focused on giving artists the tools they need to hone their business savvy. The course costs $100 for an eight-session workshop, held in the evenings at Summit Artspace.

Funding to help offset costs was provided by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the Akron Community Foundation.

Registration is limited to 40 people and closes Thursday. Go to www.akron­areaarts.org/aei.

Art schools don’t teach the necessary business skills to survive as artists, said Claudia Zeber-Martell, a clay potter and co-owner of Zeber-Martell Gallery & Clay Studio in the Northside district of downtown Akron. She is a second-year instructor for the program.

“They don’t teach you how to market your work. They don’t tell you that you’ll be $60,000 to $100,000 in debt setting up a studio,” said Zeber-Martell, an artist for 35 years who said she thought when she first started that she would spend her time solely on her artwork.

“But to succeed in making a living [in art] is a different story,” she said.

“There’s a ‘school of being out there,’?” said Zeber-Martell, who is on her second gallery and had to close her first. “I learned a lot. It’s OK to fail.”

Zeber-Martell also said she has heard some professors tell their students they won’t make a career as an artist.

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